Wednesday, 20 January 2021
By these three plagues a third of mankind was killed—by the fire and the smoke and the brimstone which came out of their mouths. Revelation 9:18
Here we have the results of the battle waged in the ground war. Of it, John first says, “By these three plagues.” The word “plagues” is inserted here for clarity, but some manuscripts actually include the word. Either way, the intent is that the effects of the artillery and tank warfare are that “a third of mankind was killed.”
The question is, “Does this refer to the whole world, or is it referring to all who are engaged in the battle, or is this the number of those who are killed in Israel?” The first option is unlikely. This is a localized battle. The second option is possible, but if it is the same battle as described in Ezekiel 38/39, it is also unlikely. This is because Ezekiel 39 seems to indicate a complete rout of the invading forces. It will be so catastrophic for them that Israel will spend seven years cleaning up the battlefield and burning that which is left behind in the devastation.
Therefore, if it is the same battle, this is probably referring to one-third of those in the army of Israel, or even one-third of the population who are targeted along with the army. As always, being certain is impossible until the event takes place. However, the means of death is not uncertain. John says the “plagues” are “the fire and the smoke and the brimstone which came out of their mouths.”
In other words, the cavalry of tanks and artillery assembled in the battle will destroy one-third of those it has come to destroy. What is a possible (mere speculation) scenario, if this is the same battle as Ezekiel, is that Israel will see the likelihood of being completely defeated, and so they turn to the use of some type of WMD to end the battle. If so, it would need to be a weapon that can destroy like a nuke, but without the radioactive effects of a nuke.
Jimmy Carter outlawed the construction of a neutron bomb during his presidency. However, it is believed in certain circles that Israel pursued and developed such a weapon. From Wikipedia –
“It is believed that Israel had possessed an operational nuclear weapons capability by 1967, with the mass production of nuclear warheads occurring immediately after the Six-Day War. Although no official statistics exist, estimates of Israeli nuclear weapons range from 75 to as many as 400. It is unknown if Israel’s reported thermonuclear weapons are in the megaton range. Israel is also reported to possess a wide range of different systems, including neutron bombs, tactical nuclear weapons, and suitcase nukes. Israel is believed to manufacture its nuclear weapons at the Negev Nuclear Research Center.”
Because this is so, the scenario above is actually quite likely. Israel faces the giant invading force, defeat appears imminent, Israel deploys a neutron bomb (which does not cause the fallout a nuke would), and thus Israel is able to effectively clean up the battlefield without the harmful effects that would otherwise hinder such an operation. Of course, this is entirely speculation, but the certain aspect of it is that the battle Ezekiel describes will come to pass, and the battle that John describes will as well.
Life application: God has promised to always protect Israel and keep her from complete annihilation. And this, despite her disobedience. It is to Israel that Jesus will return and so this promise stands firm –
“You will come up against My people Israel like a cloud, to cover the land. It will be in the latter days that I will bring you against My land, so that the nations may know Me, when I am hallowed in you, O Gog, before their eyes.” Ezekiel 38:16
“And I will bring him to judgment with pestilence and bloodshed; I will rain down on him, on his troops, and on the many peoples who are with him, flooding rain, great hailstones, fire, and brimstone. Thus I will magnify Myself and sanctify Myself, and I will be known in the eyes of many nations. Then they shall know that I am the Lord.” Ezekiel 38:22, 23
The faithfulness of the Lord is at stake when it comes to the preservation of Israel. He has spoken, and He will accomplish. This is because He is ever faithful and true. He is JESUS!
Lord, we know that perilous times are ahead, and that Israel will not be excluded from them. But we also know that You are in complete control of all things and that You will protect them for Your holy name’s sake. Thank You for Your faithfulness even when we aren’t faithful. What a great and awesome God You are! Amen.